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With thousands of local people heading to UK campsites this August to salvage their summer holidays, Northern Gas Networks is urging families to stay alert to the dangers of Carbon Monoxide (CO).

CO is a potentially lethal gas that is released into the air when fuels such as gas or coal are not burnt away completely. Camping stoves, BBQs and gas heaters can produce CO, if there is not adequate ventilation when they are used.

CO is dubbed the ‘silent killer’ as it can’t be seen, smelt or tasted. It claims around 50 lives in the UK annually, and causes around 4,000 people to be hospitalised each year.

Steve Dacre, Customer Experience Development Manager for Northern Gas Networks, said: “Families will be taking extra precautions around social distancing and hygiene this summer, but it’s important they are alert to CO, too.

“CO is particularly hazardous in small spaces, such as tents and caravans. Many people don’t realise that a BBQ, even when it is no longer being used and is cooling down, can still release potentially fatal amounts of CO in a confined space.

“We know that families have a lot of advice to follow this summer – but please make sure CO safety is added to the checklist. We want our customers to enjoy a relaxing holiday, and to come back safe and sound.”

There are some simple steps that families can take to stay safe while camping:

  • Know the signs of CO poisoning, which can include nausea, headaches and dizziness;
  • Remember the symptoms of CO poisoning can be very similar to the effects of other holiday related sicknesses, like food poisoning and dehydration;
  • Keep BBQs, stoves and heaters outside your tent, caravan or cabin – and not too close to the entrance;
  • Take an audible Carbon Monoxide alarm with you. This can be the same kind of alarm that you may have in your home, and there is no reason why you can’t take a similar model on holiday and use it in your tent or caravan;
  • Be aware of the signs of an unsafe gas appliance in your accommodation, such as black marks and stains around the appliance, or flames that are a floppy orange or yellow, instead of blue and upright, and
  • Never use gas cookers or BBQs for heating, and make sure that they have adequate ventilation when in use.

Northern Gas Networks carries out year-round activities to inform and educate customers in its region about the dangers of CO poisoning. Emergency engineers deliver CO awareness sessions following call outs to customers’ properties, and the company runs provides a schools’ programme around CO safety across the region.

More information on CO safety can be found at Northern Gas Networks website: www.northergasnetworks.co.uk